Friday, January 16, 2015

Mahonia gracilipes is my favorite plant in the garden, this week. Learn from my mistakes #14 and Mahonia in my winter garden for Foliage Follow-up…

How many meme’s can you cover in one post? I'm going for three...

Yes indeed, this is exactly how bright my Mahonia gracilipes is right now.  And that's why it's my favorite plant in the garden, this week.

The extreme contrasts continue when you look at the underside of the leaves, a ghostly white.

Although that white does rub off, as one visitor to my garden last summer discovered saying "oh and look, it rubs off!" (continues to rub, and rub, and rub...while I try not to slap him, hard)...

These berries follow tiny pink and yellow (nearly impossible to photograph) flowers. The stems seem to turn bright pink in reaction to the cold. My plant is still small but is should eventually reach 5-6 feet tall and almost as wide, although it's said to be a slow grower. This Chinese native is hardy to USDA Zone 7 and likes even water, well drained soil and some shade. It's such a crazy cool plant that I'm considering adding another.

The next mahonia I wanted to write about is Mahonia nervosa, but where is it? Ya, that's the "learn from my mistakes part of this post." I planted it last spring before the killed-to-the-ground cordylines made a rebound. Now it's hidden. I should have known better, after all the cordylines always come back...eventually.

Pretty though eh? Especially wearing it's winter red...

I think I'm going to have to move it come spring, those dark leaves are just to good to stay hidden.

Although it does look rather wonderful with the strappy cordyline leaves. Perhaps it won't move far.

So since today is Foliage Follow-up (as is the 16th of every month, hosted by Pam on her blog Digging) I figured I'd just keep going and highlight all of the mahonia growing in my garden, after all they seem to shine the brightest in the dead of winter.

Here are Mahonia x media 'Charity' (on the right) and Mahonia fortunei 'Curlyque' (on the left).

'Charity' is a blooming fool this time of the year, no matter the weather. And yes, I realize I said yesterday was the last I would share this plants blooms, but today I really mean it. Really.

'Curlyque' is less florific but that doesn't diminish its beauty one bit.

This is another M. fortunei but this one is 'Dan Hinkley' - what's the difference you ask? Well from my perspective the leaves are a little wider and a little flatter. Don't let the color mislead you as I think that's due to the light conditions where they're planted.

Mahonia 'Indianola Silver' - a horrible photo of a great plant.

Here's a laurel leaf to illustrate just how pearly the 'Indianola Silver' leaves are. I received this plant late last summer, my friend Even picked it up when he visited Dan Hinkley's Windcliff in Indianola, Washington (hence the name). You can read a little about that trip on his blog Practical Plant Geek

This beauty is Evan's plant. Nice huh?

Finally, Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'

Since the agaves which normally greet us at the backdoor are inside for the season this mahonia gets pride of place.

I do have another, larger, plant but trying to get a decent photo of it is nearly impossible. Not great plant placement on my part. This plant is so delicate it needs a better background (perhaps that's another "learn from my mistakes?...two in one post!). I think I'll plan to move it when the weather permits (which means my list of spring garden to-do's is getting longer).

So that's my mahonia collection, do you have a favorite plant in your garden this week? A reminder - the favorites "wrap up" for the month happens on Friday, January 30th. I hope you'll share your favorite plants there, as well as link to posts you've done earlier in the month!

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

18 comments:

  1. And here I thought we had a lot of different Mahonias at Longview Ranch. You have several I covet, including the lovely M. 'Soft Caress'. I love this overview of the beauty and style of this genus in winter. As much as we love M. nervosa, over time we lost all we added early in the garden - they seem very particular about location, soil and exposure. Now we have M. repens in their place and they appear to be hardier for our situation.

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    1. Gosh, so you've got me thinking maybe I'd better just leave the M. nervosa right where it is, since it seems happy. M. repens looks to be a beauty too!

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  2. Oh wow I so covet your Mahonia collection Loree, major lust! Indianola Silver....faints...

    Although your 'slap hard' comment woke me up and made me laugh!

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    1. I still can't believe he did that, really? Dork.

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  3. M. nervosa's winter red is striking and M. Indianola Silver is pretty swell! My M. gracilipes bloomed for the first time this year but I haven't noticed any berries. Must go out and look as yours looks fantastic!

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    1. Hope you find berries! And when I was Googling to find Evan's picture of his M. 'Indianola Silver' I ran across yours, which is looking mighty fine.

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  4. Oh, so many beautiful mahonias, now I want to add more to my garden :)
    They are wonderful!

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    1. I hope you can find them easily Lisa.

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  5. Wow, that's a collection of mahonias! Nice. When I see M. gracilipies my mind sees "Grapecicles" like icicles made of grapes. Silly me. Hey…is that Chartity on the north side of your house?

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    1. Funny I've always thought the same (grapecicles) it would have been a much better name wouldn't it!? Yes, 'Charity' is on the northside. I was a little concerned it wouldn't be happy there but it certainly is.

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  6. Why, oh why have I never seen anything but Mahonia aquifolium here?

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    1. Good question. Perhaps you need to make a little mail order purchase?

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  7. I love a good Mahonia collection. The inflorescences on that M. gracilipes are great, and your M. nervosa is an excellent purple. Must be from growing in the sun. I usually see it growing in shade where it doesn't get nearly as purple. Good to see your little Indianola Silver is doing well! I wish I had thought to take a photo of mine with a green leaf for comparison. That really shows how silver these plants really are. I can just see you, hands twitching at your sides, trying not to slap that leaf rubber.

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    1. Actually mother nature thought of the leave color comparison shot for me. When I went to photograph 'Indianola Silver' there was a laurel leaf laying on it. I moved it for the shot but then realized it was a great way to really see the color.

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  8. And I was wondering whether you like mahonias :-)

    Seriously, what a great collection. I need to take a closer look at the genus to see which might be good in my garden.

    I bought a Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress' last spring (Monrovia, no less) but have been disappointed. The tag said "dry shade," of which I have plenty, but mine just isn't growing (it's in a large pot under the bay trees in the backyard). I think it might be smaller than it was when I bought it! What's your experience with it? Yours looks very happy!

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  9. I liked Gracilipes so much I bought it twice last summer. The first time in June and the second one in July. Imagine my laugh when I went to plant them and found I had two! I'm going to be on the search for Curlyque.
    ~Karlyn

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  10. You have a LOT of mahonias! I too am a huge fan of their beautiful, serrated foliage, and their blooms are lovely also, especially against the rich brown of your house. But oh dear, someone trying to rub off the glaucous undercoating on your M. gracilipes? That won't do. You may need to plant a few agaves around it for protection. Gorgeous plant -- thanks for sharing it!

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  11. Oh, those berries! It's a fine favorite. Here's mine, buried in a multi-purpose post: http://bannersbyricki.com/archives/4290

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